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Space Shuttle Lifts Off For Special Delivery

SPACE CENTER, Fla. – The space shuttle Endeavour lifted off Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on a mission to bring the International Space Station its robot arm.

Liftoff occurred at 1:41 p.m. CDT (18:41 GMT). Endeavour and its seven-member crew will deliver a new-generation robot arm and the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the station. Endeavour is slated to dock with the station Saturday at 8:36 a.m. CDT.

Mission Objectives

Endeavour’s mission on STS-100 is centered on the delivery and installation of the Canadian-contributed International Space Station robotic arm, called Canadarm2.

The highest priority objectives of the flight are the installation, activation and checkout of the robotic arm on the station. The operation of the arm is critical to the capability to continue assembly of the International Space Station and to attach a new airlock to the station on the subsequent shuttle flight, mission STS-104, planned for launch in June.

Other major objectives for Endeavour’s mission are to berth the Raffaello logistics module to the station, activate it, transfer cargo between Raffaello and the station, and reberth Raffaello in the shuttle’s payload bay. Raffaello is the second of three Italian Space Agency-developed multi-purpose logistics modules to be launched to the station. The Leonardo module was launched and returned on the last shuttle flight, STS-102, in March.

Remaining objectives include the transfer of other equipment to the station such as an Ultra-High Frequency communications antenna and a spare electronics component to be attached to the exterior during space walks. Finally, the transfer of supplies and water for use aboard the station, the transfer of experiments and experiment racks to the complex, and the transfer of items for return to Earth from the station to the shuttle are among the objectives.

Endeavour also is planned to boost the station’s altitude and perform a flyaround survey of the complex, including recording views of the station with an IMAX cargo bay camera.

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